Friday, November 16, 2012

Hatsan Escort Magnum MPA Semi Automatic Tactical 2 Shotgun Review

Today I will be reviewing the Hatsan Escort Magnum MPA Semi Automatic Tactical 2 Shotgun. I bought this gun around 2 months ago at Big 5 in California and I will be showing you guys the features of this shotgun along with a couple things I learned while operating it.

Here are some of the specs straight from the Hatsan Site:
• 12 gauge, 3” / 76 mm chamber
• Fast Loading System & Smart Valve Piston.
• Fixed cylinder choke 18” (46 cm)
• muzzle break and additional muzzle cap supplied in the box.
• Ghost ring adjustable rear sight integrated on the picatinny rail and adjustable front sight with fiber optic sights.
• Picatinny rail fitted on aircraft alloy receiver.
• 2-Shotshells holder insert on stock
• Spacer shims to adjust the slope of the stock for a perfect fit.
• Strong and durable advanced polymer compound synthetic stock with integrated pistol grip.
• Elastic material covered pistol grip for better feel and grip.
• Integrated picatinny rail on forend.
• Barrels are made of nickel-chromium-molybdenum steel with additional chrome plating
internally & are proof tested for 1200 kg / cm² (17160 lb. per square inch).
• Tough black matte finish.
• Elastic butt pad for recoil absorption.
• Manual cross-button trigger safety.
• Magazine capacity: 5+1 in 18” / 46 cm barrels.
• Sling swivels on stock and magazine cap.
• Weight unloaded = 7.9 pounds or 3.6 kg

I picked this shotgun up on sale for $439.99 and after tax and a background checked I walked out of the store with this gun for 500 dollars, a very good deal considering all the extra accessories and goodies that a semi auto shotgun would want. For such a good deal though I was a bit skeptical about how the gun would function especially with different loads and such. I looked up the company in Turkey and they have been around for around 30 years and just now Legacy started importing them so we are seeing a wave of these gun hitting the market.

A nice add on that came with this gun is the muzzle break which works by directing gases evenly around the barrel increasing accuracy as well as lowering recoil.

 One add on you won't find on a Mossberg or Bennelli is the 2 extra shots holder on the stock, I have heard some reviews saying that this would make it uncomfortable to shoot for left handed shooters but as long as your not a retard and holding the gun properly the holder does not interfere what-so-ever, A neat thing I did was I actually removed the holder and replaced it with a phone holder so I actually had my phone mounted on the side of my gun which serves really no purpose but it was pretty neat.
 The carrier is also a bolt release switch which is the middle lever. This is very handy to get to and in my opinion easier to reach than cocking the handle back like other guns. There is a slight downfall though, I have on multiple occasions hit this lever by mistake and have been startled by the bolt pulling forward (it is quite loud) Also watch you fingers do not hold this shotgun my the reciever because you could touch this lever and slam your thumb in the bolt, and yes it did hurt. Of course this is operator error on my part but is still an option to consider before buying this gun.

 Very nice ghost ring sights work beautifully during the day for fast target acquisition. Perfect for shooting skeet! The forward sight is a half hooded red dot. I, being the tacticool operator that I am, have added a red dot holographic sight to mine because it makes shooting slugs easier and also nice for night shooting.

 Another add on that I absolutely love is this picatinny front rail that comes standard on this gun. I'm pretty sure it was meant for a flashlight, and I am working on getting a nice one, but for now I mounted a vertical foregrip which makes this gun super easy to handle especially whilst rapid firing 00 buckshot! I have rigged this trashy looking though because I bought the grip for like 6 bucks and is cheap. Works great though, helps disperse the recoil   and keeping the barrel down. A wonderful feature!

  The magazine release is a great feature as well for helping organize your loads and allowing more accessibility over your gun if something happens. The nice thing I do with this is I do not keep a shot in the chamber when I have this stored for home defense but I have the magazine tube loaded. The switch is designed to throw one shot into the reciever and close the bolt ready to fire when this switch is pushed forward, a great feature to have that is safer then keeping one in the chamber at all times.

The nice thing about this shotgun is that not only does a pistol grip come standard, but it is also elastic covered which is super comfortable, probably one of the best grips I've ever held. Another nice thing is that the recoil spring is not inside of the stock like the mossberg 930 has which means if you really wanted to you could buy just the pistol grip and ditch the stock completely if you wanted too.

The Catch (Cons):
This shotgun seems almost perfect! But there are 2 cons that I have found while owning this gun. Both of which are for the most part not bad at all but simply require knowledge of beforehand in order to keep from jamming your gun.

Here is the problem: Imagine that the magazine is completely loaded but there are no rounds in the chamber and the bolt is closed like the picture on the left. Now it seems that you only need to cock the handle back to load one in the chamber right? WRONG due to the shotguns "Fast Loading System" the shotgun will load so fast that IN SOME CASES not all, the shotgun will let 2 shots try to push into the action. This jams the gun. Now I have experimented with this for quite some time and I have relized that two factors come into play here: 
1. The magazine spring when loaded to full capacity will push shells so fast that it will actually over ride the side clamps that are suppose to prevent 2 shells from entering the action. If you load only 3 shots or so this jam will not happen due to the spring being under-tensioned and therefore allowing the side clamps to intercept the second shell.
2. The type of ammo plays a role as well, I haven't tested all brands but for some reason high quality shells have a slightly bigger rim that allows for the side clamps to grab the second shell. So in some cases shooting higher quality ammunition will prevent this jam.

To prevent this from happening always load a round in the chamber before you load up the magazine, I have never had this problem while just shooting the gun because the bolt carrier system works even faster than the magazine can push the shells out which completely prevents this type of jam while just firing normally.

This Jam will not happen if you are just shooting the shotgun, it will only happen if you physically pull back the bolt while the magazine is full.

I have cycled many different Shells and shot types from this shotgun and everything worked fine except for a target load I bought that had a velocity of 1145, the shotgun would cycle 1/2 the time, stovepipe jam 1/4 the time, and just not even cycle the other 1/4 of the time.
This shotgun can and will shoot and cycle BIRDSHOT WITH NO PROBLEM :)

Final Analysis and Ranking:
Price: 9.75/10     Seriously the only way the price could be better would be if it were free
Looks: 9/10        Aesthetically identical to the old style SPAS - 12
Reliability 7/10    What can I say? If you know the mechanics of this gun it works like a dream but because of its minor problems with the jam and also the inability to cycle absolutely the lightest load on the planet drops it reliability down.
Overall score: 8.5 /10 

A very inexpensive shotgun that is perfect for homedefense straight out of the box. With its price being nearly 300 dollars cheaper than its fully decked out Mossberg 930 spx counterpart this makes it a perfect buy for the economically conscious buyer who still wants reliability.